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Buddhism

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

There Is No Mortal Who Is Non-moral Or Purely Immoral
The same is the case with the third and the fourth class of p...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law
For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, by Kei Z...

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of Mahaya...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land
We are to resume this problem in the following chapter. Suff...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

Buddha Dwelling In The Individual Mind
Enlightened Consciousness in the individual mind acquires for...

The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, see...

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...

The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen
This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an emine...

Sutras Used By Zen Masters
Ten Dai failed to explain away the discrepancies and contradi...

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...




Personalism Of B P Bowne








B. P. Bowne says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms or
illusions, nor are they masks of a back-lying reality which is trying
to peer through them." "The antithesis," he continues, "of
phenomena and noumena rests on the fancy that there is something that
rests behind phenomena which we ought to perceive but cannot, because
the masking phenomena thrusts itself between the reality and us."
Just so far we agree with Bowne, but we think he is mistaken in
sharply distinguishing between body and self, saying: "We
ourselves are invisible. The physical organism is only an instrument
for expressing and manifesting the inner life, but the living self is
never seen." "Human form," he argues, "as an object in space
apart from our experience of it as the instrument and expression of
personal life, would have little beauty or attraction; and when it is
described in anatomical terms, there is nothing in it that we should
desire it. The secret of its beauty and its value lies in the
invisible realm." "The same is true," he says again, "of literature.
It does not exist in space, or in time, or in books, or in libraries
. . . all that could be found there would be black marks on a white
paper, and collections of these bound together in various forms,
which would be all the eyes could see. But this would not be
literature, for literature has its existence only in mind and for
mind as an expression of mind, and it is simply impossible and
meaningless in abstraction from mind." "Our human history"--he gives
another illustration--"never existed in space, and never
could so exist. If some visitor from Mars should come to the earth
and look at all that goes on in space in connection with human
beings, he would never get any hint of its real significance. He
would be confined to integrations and dissipations of matter and
motion. He could describe the masses and grouping of material
things, but in all this be would get no suggestion of the inner life
which gives significance to it all. As conceivably a bird might sit
on a telegraph instrument and become fully aware of the clicks of the
machine without any suspicion of the existence or meaning of the
message, or a dog could see all that eye can see in a book yet
without any hint of its meaning, or a savage could gaze at the
printed score of an opera without ever suspecting its musical import,
so this supposed visitor would be absolutely cut off by an impassable
gulf from the real seat and significance of human history. The great
drama of life, with its likes and dislikes, its loves and hates, its
ambitions and strivings, and manifold ideas, inspirations,
aspirations, is absolutely foreign to space, and could never in any
way be discovered in space. So human history has its seat in the
invisible."


In the first place, Bowne's conception of the physical organism as
but an instrument for the expression of the inner, personal life,
just as the telegraphic apparatus is the instrument for the
expression of messages, is erroneous, because body is not a mere
instrument of inner personal life, but an essential constituent of
it. Who can deny that one's physical conditions determine one's
character or personality? Who can overlook the fact that one's
bodily conditions positively act upon one's personal life? There is
no physical organism which remains as a mere passive mechanical
instrument of inner life within the world of experience. Moreover,
individuality, or personality, or self, or inner life, whatever you
may call it, conceived as absolutely independent of physical
condition, is sheer abstraction. There is no such concrete
personality or individuality within our experience.

In the second place, he conceives the physical organism simply as a
mark or symbol, and inner personal life as the thing marked or
symbolized; so he compares physical forms with paper, types, books,
and libraries, and inner life, with literature. In so doing he
overlooks the essential and inseparable connection between the
physical organism and inner life, because there is no essential
inseparable connection between a mark or symbol and the thing marked
or symbolized. The thing may adopt any other mark or symbol. The
black marks on the white paper, to use his figure, are not essential
to literature. Literature may be expressed by singing, or by speech,
or by a series of pictures. But is there inner life expressed, or
possible to be expressed, in any other form save physical organism?
We must therefore acknowledge that inner life is identical with
physical organism, and that reality is one and the same as appearance.






Next: All The Worlds In Ten Directions Are Buddha's Holy Land

Previous: The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories



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